As a member of the University of Delaware’s Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics’ Class of 2023, David Eldridge, an MBA candidate with a concentration in finance from Manchester, Maryland, has demonstrated remarkable dedication and resilience during his time at UD.
Eldridge was nominated for this series by UD Graduate Programs Department, which said, “We would like to recognize the efforts of David Eldridge who has worked hard to maintain a 4.0 GPA while balancing work and life.”
In his profile, Eldridge shares his favorite UD memories, how he has changed during his time at UD and his plans following graduation.
Lerner: How do you think you have changed from your first semester at UD to now?
Eldridge: My first semester at UD was the fall of 2012 when I began studying toward my bachelor of electrical engineering degree. Fast forward to the fall of 2019, through a desire to expand my professional horizons and overall education, my nostalgia and overall love for UD brought me back as a student once more in the online MBA program. Over both periods at UD, I have changed immensely; each time starting out with little knowledge in the respective area of study, but an eagerness to get started. Having completed two degrees with UD, I feel I am better equipped to tackle a much wider range of challenges due to the educational and leadership foundations built through these programs.
Lerner: What have been some of the challenges you have faced during your college experience and how did you overcome them?
Eldridge: The biggest challenge I faced during my time in the MBA program was learning how to optimally balance working full time and going to school while still trying to maintain a healthy balance with my personal life. It took me a few semesters to get the hang of this, but the Online MBA program is well structured to aid students in accomplishing it. My main way of overcoming it was building out 1-week task schedules to keep myself on pace and limit the times I’d have to dedicate an entire weekend to course work. This balance was also aided by taking advantage of little segments of time, even 15-20 minutes, throughout the week to progress tasks forward where I may have previously written them off as too little time to be productive.
Lerner: What was your favorite signature UD experience and why?
Eldridge: In being an online MBA student, I did not have as many signature UD experiences as I did in my undergraduate time there; but my favorite non-program related, UD experiences in general were enjoying Main Street, the UD Creamery, and Ag Day. Specific to my time in the MBA program, I particularly liked the experience of developing a start-up and progressing it along various business benchmarks in my Intro to Entrepreneurship course.
Lerner: What does being a “Lifelong Lerner” mean to you?
Eldridge: I view being a “Lifelong Lerner” as embracing a mindset where you let your curiosity lead you and are never reluctant to miss an opportunity to pursue that curiosity, ask questions, and develop a deeper understanding through all facets of life. This leads to a larger commitment to personal development and growth, which embodies the underlying mission of the University of Delaware itself.
Lerner: What advice would you give to incoming freshmen to make the most out of their college experience?
Eldridge: The advice I would give to people starting at UD would be to go into every course and opportunity with an open mind and an intention to learn from everyone. Even if it is a course that is required and not one that you were particularly seeking out, embrace it because there is so much to learn from the curriculum, amazing faculty, and your fellow students at UD. Some of the best lessons I learned and experiences I had through both degrees at UD were born out of casual discussions, office hours, or networking and proved that you never know when or what will lead to your professional development.
Lerner: Did you have a Lerner professor or staff member that had a big impact on your UD experience?
Eldridge: Having completed my undergraduate degree in electrical engineering, my main goal going into my MBA was to build out my limited understanding of finance. In doing that, I was heavily impacted by each of my awesome UD Finance professors including professors Fei Xie, Terry Campbell, John Stocker, and Xiaoxia Lou. That being said, I was particularly impacted by Dr. Stocker in his FINC619 course, Financial Modeling & Valuation, because it did an awesome job teaching fundamental principles and then making students actually understand how those principles and theory get used in real-world applications.
I certainly appreciated this real-world focus while in the course, but gained an even greater appreciation for this when talking to a colleague of mine who was in a Master of Finance program at a different institution and had an entirely different, mostly text booked oriented, valuation course. In seeing the juxtaposition of the two experiences, I am even more grateful that Dr. Stocker placed such an emphasis on teaching students how to actually use the knowledge that we were there to learn, which has certainly translated to a better end result for my personal life and professional career.
Lerner: What are your plans following graduation?
Eldridge: After graduating, I plan to continue my work as the manager of engineering for Luminace, leveraging all of the financial, managerial, and leadership education provided through my most recent stint at UD. I also look forward to taking advantage of my now vacant nights and weekends to spend more time with my family and friends, who supported me along the way.